Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas postcard printed in Germany for Leo Uhlfelder Co.


This vintage, hand-colored postcard features Father Christmas bringing dolls and drums to a pair of happy children. Does anyone known what he's holding in his hand? Is it some sort of brass instrument? A lightsaber?

Embossed across the bottom of the postcard is: "MADE IN GERMANY FOR LEO UHLFELDER, NEW YORK." That company was around for a long time, but I'm not sure if it's still in business today. It was founded in 1895 in Mount Vernon, New York, and marketed gold, silver and imitation leaf, plus other art supplies for gilding. This 2005 website, www.uhlfelder-goldleaf.com, is the last internet presence that I can find for the company. I also see that fineartstore.com still sells Luco products that are co-branded Leo Uhlfelder Co.

On the front of this old postcard, there is also a circular logo with the initials N.P.G., for Neue Photograpische Gesellschaft AG of Berlin.

Turning to the back, the card was never mailed. The only thing written there, in lovely cursive writing in black ink, is "From Floy Locke."

There was a Floy Locke who lived from 1918 to 2008, spending almost all of her life in Oklahoma.

There was also a Floy Locke who lived from 1934 to 2014 and died in Columbus, Mississippi.

There was also a Floy Locke who might or might not have received shares of railroad stock following the ajudication of a series of wills circa 1900.

So I guess we'll never know for sure which Floy Locke this is.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Old postcard: Two children having a Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße


On the heels of yesterday's postcard of children at a candle-adorned Christmas tree enjoying their gifts, here's a similar old postcard.

This one has the caption Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße, which is German for Merry Christmas. The girls seem to have a teddy bear, a miniature bowling (skittles?) set with soldier-shaped wooden pins, and a nice book. No Lite-Brite or Holly Hobbie Oven for them!

This postcard was never mailed or written on. Here's the logo that appears in the stamp box.

On The Postcard Album, a website run by Helmfried Luers of Germany, the complicated history of the NBC logo is explained. In August 1909 the cartel "Neue Bromsilber Convention" (NBC) was established to help guarantee postcard prices and keep a group of German and Austrian companies from driving each other out of business. Luers writes: "The logo imprint proves that the card was produced by a member of the P.R.A. and/or a company accepting the NBC price convention terms. It does not identify the individual manufacturer." Check out his site for more information.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Vintage postcard: A happy moment under the Christmas tree


Today's crinkled and worn vintage Christmas postcard features two children sitting next to a modest (and candle-adorned) Christmas tree with their gifts. There's a teddy bear, a wooden horse and a full-color book. It does not appear that they received Yars' Revenge or the Vincent Price Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture kit from their wish lists. Maybe next year.

It is not apparent what company manufactured this card, but it was printed in Germany.

It is postmarked December 18, 1912, in Flint, Michigan. It was mailed to Master Dave Morse, Corner of Page and North St., Flint, Michigan. The note says simply "A Merry Christmas From Mrs. Curtis."

Thursday, December 13, 2018

It's the most creepiest postcard of the Christmas season


I suppose this was better understood in its time, but here's a vintage Christmas postcard that clearly doesn't have the holly-jolly spirit. Under "A Happy Christmas," we have a boy dressed in red, standing on a stool and holding what appears to be some mistletoe. The shadow behind him doesn't seem possible, given the silhouette he should be casting. Should we just assume there are some demonic forces at play? Or perhaps a little mischievous magic from Krampus? Or maybe the little boy just read A Christmas Carol?

The postcard was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons and is from the "Christmas" Series, being No. 3621. It was chromographed in Saxony.

The card was mailed, but the postmark is too blurred to tell what year.

It was sent to Master George Wesley Parkson [?] in "The Weirs," New Hampshire, which is what the locals call Weirs Beach upon the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.

And I can't find a darn thing under that name, though, in Google searches. Maybe I'm reading the cursive writing wrong. Is it George Wesley Paulson? I guessed Parkson because I though the K and S were just naturally blending together with the cursive, but now I'm not sure of anything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Book cover and other goodies:
"Too Busy to Die"


  • Title: Too Busy to Die
  • Author: H.W. Roden (1895-1963)
  • Cover illustrator: It's signed "Hoffman," but I couldn't find anything further
  • Publisher: William Morrow and Company (Morrow Mystery)
  • Original price: $2
  • Publication date: 1944
  • Pages: 216
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Provenance: Eva and Bub [Bob?] Sheppard of Hanover, Pennsylvania (per bookplate below). Later shelved at The York Emporium.
  • Dust jacket blurb: "The little man who called himself Harold Rodkins was so inconspicuous against the splendor of the new office that Johnny Knight's first impulse was to tell him to get out. Two thousand smackers appeared in the nick of time, effectively killing the impulse."
  • First sentence: The man put the final flourishes to the sign on the glass door of my new office and we both stepped back to admire his handiwork.
  • Last sentence: Whereupon we both collapsed quietly on the floor alongside of Pat and Homer, and the four of us slept peacefully awaiting the arrival of the police.
  • Random sentence from middle: For a guy who was still in his pajamas and bathrobe, I'd had quite a morning.
  • Original Kirkus review: "Slicked down toughie involving Johnny Knight, Public Relations Counsel, and Sid Ames, private eye, on a case of murder in triplicate, blackmail, and thieves falling out over a packet of diamonds. Top tempo and some pretty fine lowdown lingo in the genre."
  • Commentary from elsewhere #1: On The Thrilling Detective Web Site, Kevin Burton Smith writes: "SID AMES is a rye-swilling New York City gumshoe with a distaste for the cops and a rather unusual occasional sidekick, public relations consultant JOHNNY KNIGHT, who 'knows all the angles and rarely misses a trick,' and might have served as the brains of the bunch — if only he had been any smarter than Sid. He wasn't. ... Sid (and Johnny) appeared in four novels in the 40's, all of which were eventually published by Dell — including a couple of Mapbacks with spectacular covers."
  • Commentary from elsewhere #2: On Mystery*File, Steve discusses the plot and writing in this excerpt from an extended review: "Knight feels obligated to find the man’s killer. This is one of those typically 1940s wacky type of screwloose capers, complete with a beautiful blonde, a pint-sized bombshell named Patricia Rodkins who is not only deeply involved in the case but who also goes completely gaga over Knight at first glance, reason unknown but Johnny does not mind. ... With the body found on page 189, however, there are no more jokes. Things get serious and quite a bit darker in tone, and in spite of the relative loony atmosphere at the beginning, you begin to wonder if the mystery could possibly have a well-explained, coherent ending. It doesn't."

But wait, there's more!

Here's the back cover of the dust jacket, which is filled with tiny illustrations and describes author Roden as follows: "President, American Home Foods, Inc., and Clapp's Baby Foods; Chairman of the Board of G. Washington Coffee Refining Company; and member of the Board of Directors of the Association of National Advertisers, the War Advertising Council, and the Grocery Manufacturers of America."



And here's the aforementioned bookplate, featuring mouse, book and candle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ephemera seen on Weis parking lot at 8:32 p.m. on 12/11/18

RPPC: "Christmas Greeting and all Good wishes for the Coming Year"


This real photo postcard features a church surrounded by snow, a picture of a distinguished gentleman and the cursive message "Christmas Greeting and all Good wishes for the Coming Year." Perhaps the man is the pastor of that church, wherever it is. There's no writing on the card and it was never mailed. It's a CYKO card that dates to between 1904 and sometime in the 1920s, according to Playle's. A Google reverse image search turned up no additional leads.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about this one. If you have a hankering for more Christmas ephemera, start here.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Reader mystery: Vintage postcards with metal frames


A Papergreat reader named Molly has checked in with a postcard mystery for us to explore. Sending a batch of photos, she writes:
"My great-grandmother started my addiction to postcards when she bequeathed to me her small collection. Over 1,000 cards later, with a cutoff year of 1910, I am still buggered by 23 metal framed, 3" x 4" postcards. The paper part is also thicker than the regular postcards of that era. Most include a foldout easel on the back. ... I can't seem to find any like them anywhere ... nor any info about them. Obviously they are rare, indeed. Any internet links you may have to help me would be appreciated."
As you can see from one of Molly's images, these directions appear on the back of her cards: "Pull out the easel back or wall hanger with the point of a knife." With a little Google luck, I discovered that the Simplicity Company of Chicago sold metal-framed postcards in the first decade of the 20th century. But they might not have been the only company doing so.

Regarding Simplicity, this news item appears in the March 23, 1907, issue of The American Stationer, a trade magazine:

Notice to Post Card Dealers
The Simplicity Company, Chicago, is sending the following notice to the trade:

"A recent article published by newspapers throughout the country, in relation to a ruling made by the Postmaster General, wherein it declares that metal cards are not longer mailable unless sent in an enevlope [sic], might possibly lead dealers to a wrong conclusion as to our metal frame post cards, we herewith call your attention to a copy of a ruling made us by the Hon. Fred A. Busse, postmaster at Chicago, and dated March 8, 1907, several days after the publication of the article referred to above, and which reads as follows:
The Simplicity Company,
307-321 Dearborn Street,
Chicago, Illinois.
Sirs:—
Yours of the 7th March (F.J.W.) received. Metal bordered cards like sample submitted are mailable at the fourth-class rate of postage, i.e., 1 cent for each ounce or fraction thereof, when the message thereon is entirely in print. If, however, the message is wholly or partially in writing the cards referrred to will be subject to postage at the fire-class [sic] rate, i.e., 2 cents for each ounce or fraction thereof.
Respectfully,
Fred A. Busse, Postmaster.
The above is an exact copy of the postmaster's letter to us."
So it appears that at least one company might have encountered some early difficulty with the marketing and mailing of metal-framed postcards, which might have contributed to their rarity. According to Metropostcard.com, The Simplicity Company was in business from 1906 to 1927 and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, around 1909 after getting its start in Chicago. But Metropostcard makes no mention of metal frames.

Here are some more images that Molly sent along. If anyone else has any more information or leads on this mystery, let us know!